Avocado consumption: still on the rise? - The Packer

Avocado consumption: still on the rise?

06/24/2013 11:19:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstAvocados have come a long way, but just how much higher can they go?

I do know this: I am eating more guacamole than I ever have before and my wife occasionally includes avocados in salads and sandwiches around the home. So count me with the upward trending arc of avocado demand.

The history of the avocado, like any commodity when we truly pause to think about it, is fascinating.

From a mini-history in “What’s Cooking America”

"It is evident from miscellaneous reports by Spanish Conquistadores that, at the time of the Spanish conquest, avocados were grown from northern Mexico south through Central America into north-western South America and south in the Andean region as far as Peru (where the avocado had been introduced shortly before the conquest), as well as into the Andean region of Venezuela.

The Aztecs used the avocado as a sex stimulant and the Aztec name for avocado was ahuacatl, meaning "testicle." In the pre-Incan city of Chanchan, archaeologists have unearthed a large water jar, dated around 900 A.D., in the shape of an avocado."

Several publications have recently noted the astonishing rise of the pebbly fruit, including The Huffington Post last year. In that article, the coverage noted the dramatic rise of Mexican hass imports since the late 1990s and the $40 million annual investment that avocado marketers use to stretch demand. If you look at that story, the 185 reader comments also reveal the passion of avocado consumers. Here is a sampling:

"I don't trust people that don't like avocado."

"I started eating avocados for lunch to mix up boring lunches and my hair got really shiny."

"I eat on average 1.5 avocados a day, usually in a salad or as guac (with diced mango instead of tomatoes, try it!!!). And if for some reason I go for more than 3 days without avocado, I get some really serious avocado fantasies."

One of the truly transcendent produce items in the past 30 years, USDA statistics showed that total U.S. avocado production in 1970 was 91.4 million pounds, with just 2.3 million pounds of imported product. Fast forward to 2010, when domestic production was rated at 253 million pounds and imports were tallied at an astounding 830 million pounds. Per capita consumption has risen from less than a half a pound in 1970 to 3.2 pounds by 2010 and near 5 pounds today.

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